The great thing about Psych (and really most quality comedies) is that even when an episode is totally strong as a whole, there are still a number of funny moments that keep the story pumping forward and the episode from completely dragging. “Chivalry Is Not Dead…But Someone Is” is one of those episodes.
This week’s episode featured an alright premise with cougars, motivational speakers and murder, as well as some fun guest stars in Jean Smart and John Michael Higgins, but was certainly more convoluted and twisty-turny than a normal Psych episode. I guess the writers wanted to try to keep the fans guessing since the cases are usually fairly easy to solve, but A.) I can’t imagine too many people watch Psych for the cases and B.) it felt like the episode was trying to hard to accomplish that goal.
Part of that stemmed from keeping the competition between Shawn/Gus and Lassie/Jules up, but even that felt odd because the episode treated the face-off as if it were something that had never happened on the series before. I guess it’s something of a back-to-basics episode and status quo with Jules fully recovered — glad that emotional trouble didn’t take — but it felt weird to highlight the fact that Shawn and Lassie were working different sides of the case as if they don’t do that every week.
However, like I said, there were a number of fun moments that kept this hour afloat. Both Smart and Higgins have established themselves as go-to guest stars on series like this one and so their solid chemistry with James Roday and Dule Hill shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Oddly, I sometimes find Higgins’ brand of comedy grating just like I do Roday, but together, it all worked as they played tremendously off one another throughout the episode and really carried the conflict through to the final seconds. Higgins was playing something of the mature, intelligent version of Shawn in terms of his skills with the ladies, and to have them try to one up each other with Smart’s character was a fine pursuit to watch unfold.
Finally, Hill’s Gus stole the show again this week with his annoyance that a revealed-to-be lesbian and murderer wouldn’t find him attractive or at least want to rub his head. That’s a beat that’s been played out across genres and mediums, but Dule Hill knows how to play physically offended better than just about anyone I can think of and this is yet another episode where Gus steps out of his shell a little more than in previous seasons. One thing that’s interesting about Gus’ more comedic role this season is that he’s clearly become more immature in the process and I don’t know if the writers have just decided to sacrifice more of Gus’ subtlety’s for the sake of humor or it’s a long-term plan to show how hanging out with Shawn and working these cases changes a person like Gus. I’m guessing it’s the former rather than the latter, but I’m totally enthralled by how Gus has been portrayed and used this season. I love it. Love it.